I always enjoy when people email me pictures of miserable, rusted hulks half-buried in the ground, asking for help identifying what those car-corpses are. Often I can identify them, and that gives me a delightful little endorphin boost and prolongs my illusion that I, you know, have worth. This time, though, I’m having to grudgingly admit, if not defeat, then the presence of a very worthy adversary. Because whatever the identity of the remains of this car is, it’s dancing just out of the reach of my brain, and it hurts.
What makes this particular one so maddening is that the surviving bits I can see have some pretty distinctive design elements: there’s a thin blade-like chrome bumper, what seems to be a quad headlight setup (dual on each side), proportions, styling, and size that strongly suggest an American car from between 1960 to maybe 1972 or so, something perhaps muscle car or muscle car adjacent.
The part that’s really mocking me is that whatever this is, it has a pretty distinctive styling detail that feels so familiar, but I just can’t seem to find a match: that rounded-corner rectangular inset area on the fender.
There’s a number of cars that have designs almost like this, with that big rectangular slab of a front quarter and that inset design, like the 1964 Mercurys or a ‘65 Chrysler Imperial or something like a ‘66 Dodge Charger, which is so close in some ways but still very clearly Not It:
So, help me stop banging my head against walls here; I know one of you out there can identify this heap, and I bet it’ll happen in like five minutes, and it’ll seem all so obvious I’ll feel like a fool for even asking.
I even checked late Studebakers and AMCs. Nothing.
But I’m not there yet. That’s where I want to get; that’s how I want to feel like a fool. So, who’s going to help me do it?
Put those ideas in the comments, pals. Let’s solve this, for Patrick, the jerk who sent me these pictures and drove me nuts! I’m kidding, Patrick isn’t a jerk, and if it helps, he told me these pics were taken in the Outer Banks of what I assume is North Carolina, the state where I am right now.
I guess if I have to drive out there with a shovel and excavate this thing, maybe that’s how this has to end.
I hope not, though. Help.